Bridget Wheeler

Bridget Wheeler, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

BA(Hons) 3D Materials Practice

What work are you exhibiting in the Graduate Show 2012 - Up and Beyond?

My material specialisms are ceramics and metal. My work focuses upon the traditional making skills of the brick maker and the tinker; a traveling tradesman supplying simply made metal domestic goods. I am interested in how these trade skills can be introduced into the modern home, and that the learning of these skills is accessible to all through the internet and books. I hope to build on an ethos of making which is accessible, attainable and for both necessity and enjoyment.

I am making the domestic ware for a set table.

Brick/Bowl

I learnt to make bricks from a book and videos on the internet. From what I learnt I replicated the process as best I could, but modified elements such as the proportions of the mold to allow the resulting piece to have a domestic function.

Bridget Wheeler, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

Tinker

Tinkers are tradesmen who supply metal household goods. They make things which were required using simple joining techniques in a limited workshop. I made pewter spoons in the most basic way I could and they are a result of the environment they were made in. 

My Background:

I studied A-levels in Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Art and was intending to pursue a higher education in Medicine. I didn’t get high enough grades and I don’t think I really wanted to do it anyway! I then had a great year doing an Art and Design Foundation at the University of Cumbria, during this time I started using textiles, ceramics and metal a lot.

I came to Brighton in the summer after my Foundation course and really loved it here. I then looked into the University and discovered this course. I was drawn to the workshop based nature of the course, the workshop facilities are great. I was also keen to learn practical business skills which are integrated into the studies.

It has been such a happy time. Learning practical and specialist skills, working alongside enthusiastic staff and friends. Coming to university everyday to a workshop is a joy. It is a very creative atmosphere. There is a very heavy workload on this course and there are lots of different things to keep on top of.

The tutors are knowledgeable in their fields and are available for regular tutorials, they are usually around the workshop and you can stop them for a chat about your work. There is a great team of technicians in each workshop who are always available. There is a really great library rammed with books from top to bottom.

What would you say to anyone considering this course?

It’s very hard work but completely worth it. Be prepared for long days and balancing lots of work. If you enjoy hands on making you will love this course.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Making sure all the different work elements are all getting done, being in the workshop making work, Professional Practice studies, the dissertation, visual research. But it seems to be working out ok!

After Graduation

For a while I will return home to Cumbria. I am going to set myself up with a small workshop to continue making. I hope to gain work experience to learn more about the field.

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